The city of Lugano, the economic capital of Italian-speaking southern Switzerland, is accepting cryptocurrencies to pay taxes as part of a new partnership with stablecoin provider Tether (USDT).
Tether Operations Limited, the blockchain-based platform that supports USDT, the world’s largest stablecoin by market capitalization, has signed a partnership agreement with Lugano’s management, according to a joint announcement Thursday.
Tether and the City has established a Center of Excellence for Blockchain Adoption with the goal of becoming a major blockchain hub in Europe.
The collaboration aims to demonstrate real use cases of blockchain, and its practical use in the local community, including accepting payments in cryptocurrencies and piloting blockchain solutions on an urban scale. Tether and the city specifically plan to implement the Lightning Network, the second layer added to the Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain, to overcome scalability barriers in the city’s crypto infrastructure.
Lugano aims to expand its efforts to allow residents and businesses to pay taxes on cryptocurrency in the near future, pending further official approvals and infrastructure projects. The ultimate goal is to accept cryptocurrency as payment for all goods and services, and to equate it with fiat currency, the announcement states.
As part of the partnership, Tether will also create a multi-million dollar fund to help fund blockchain-based startups and blockchain services in the region. In addition, Tether will bring its expertise and support from the City of Lugano to provide industry education through collaboration with local universities and research institutes.
According to Lugano Mayor Michel Folletti, the latest partnership with Tether will help the city expand and further develop its fintech efforts. Noting that the City of Lugano has been actively involved in crypto and blockchain technologies in recent years, including work on citizen payment tokens at LVGA Point, non-fungible tokens and other blockchain development, he said:
“Lugano is investing in the future. In recent years, we have already implemented blockchain-based solutions, including the MyLugano app and payment token LVGA Points, Lugano digital forks and the 3Achain blockchain infrastructure.”
The news comes as the city of Lugano and Tether host a live event Thursday to celebrate the city’s introduction of cryptocurrencies, as announced last week.
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As previously reported, there are a number of cities and cantons in Switzerland that allow their citizens to pay taxes in cryptocurrency, including the Swiss canton of Zug and the municipality of Zermatt.